Oct. 31, 2012
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BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — A valiant effort from the University of Iowa women’s soccer team wasn’t enough in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, as the Hawkeyes fell to third-ranked Penn State. The Hawkeyes were threatening on offense the whole way through, but the top-seeded Nittany Lions (17-2-1) won, 2-0, at Armstrong Stadium.
Iowa finished with 33 shots in the contest, it’s most of the season by eight, and kept Penn State goalkeeper Erin McNulty under duress throughout the match. The Hawkeyes outshot Penn State 33-15 and held a 14-4 advantage in shots on goal, but Penn State goals in the 17th and 60th minute made the difference.
The Hawkeyes finished the season with a 12-6-3 overall record, and reached the conference tournament for the seventh time in program history. Iowa’s 12 wins rank second in program history.
“I think we all are excited about how our season went, but also bittersweet about it because we are so much closer to being a team that can advance in this tournament and possibly reach the NCAA Tournament,” said Iowa head coach Ron Rainey, who has guided Iowa to four conference tournaments in his career. “I’m very proud of how this team worked through 21 games this season.”
Iowa put Penn State defenders under pressure early and often in the first half. The Hawkeyes recorded 14 shots in the first half, their most first half shots since the opening game of the season. Nine of those shots went on goal, and two missed the crossbar by a fraction.
Despite the offensive barrage, Penn State would score the matches’ first goal, finding net in the 17th minute. Maya Hayes crossed the ball into the box from out wide, and Emily Hurd’s shot from the PK spot found the top corner of the goal.
Iowa would have two equalizing opportunities before intermission, as sophomore Cloe Lacasse and senior Dana Dalrymple each had a breakaway chance in the 43rd and 44th minute. Penn State would keep the ball out of the net, and take a 1-0 lead into the break. Lacasse had five shots in the half, putting four on target. Dalrymple took four shots, with three on target. Freshman Meg Goodson made one save in goal for the Hawkeyes, as the Iowa defense held the Nittany Lions to just two shots on goal. Iowa outshot Penn State 14-8 and held a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal in the opening frame.
The Hawkeyes opened the second period much like the first, pushing the ball forward and creating chances on offense. McNulty was up to the task with quality saves, and the Nittany Lions increased their advantage in the 60th minute. Freshman Raquel Rodriguez crossed the ball into the box off a corner kick, and Maddy Evans made a great run to the far post. Evans’ header dipped under the crossbar to put Iowa down two.
Refusing to go away lightly, the Hawkeyes continued to take shots, looking for their first goal. Iowa nearly found it in the 82nd minute off a free kick from sophomore Melanie Pickert. Junior Alex Melin was on the receiving end of the cross and took a shot near the far post, but McNulty made a foot save to keep the ball out. Iowa took nine shots in the final ten minutes of the match.
Melin and Dalrymple each had eight shots, which was the most of the season for both. Lacasse finished with seven shots, with five on target. Freshman goalkeeper Hannah Clark played in the second half for the Hawkeyes, making one save.
“It was an interesting game, and we generated chances throughout the 90 minutes,” said Rainey. “We did some good things, but Penn State is a really good team and they made two goals that probably would have worked against any team in the nation.”
Iowa will return 18 players, all of which were letterwinners this season, and will look to replace seniors Allie Adam, Gabby Ainsworth, Stef Campbell, Dalrymple, Jade Grimm and Kat Lewis. The Hawkeyes will return nine of 11 starters. Iowa outshot its opponents 40-19 this season. The Hawkeyes set the program record for shutouts in a season (10), and tied the record for most home wins (7) and fewest goals allowed in the regular season (17).